ZIMBABWE VS BANGLADESH, 2022
Zimbabwe snapped a 19-game ODI losing streak against Bangladesh © AFP
Sikandar Raza, amid a purple stain since returning to the home series against Bangladesh in 2021, had extra motivation in Friday’s ODI series opener against the same opposition in Harare. Raza was part of the Zimbabwe squad that beat Bangladesh in 2013 but since then has lost 19 straight matches in the format before ending that streak on Friday.
Chasing an impressive 304, Zimbabwe were down to 62 for 3 and needed a big stand. Raza and Innocent Kaya came together but it wasn’t easy for the senior pro to continue, after being hit by a Taskin Ahmed delivery on his knee on an inside edge in the 26th.
“When I shot that ball I had an inside edge and it went inside my knee where there was no padding,” Raza said. “It was tough at that point, but what I felt at that point was that the momentum was starting to shift towards us and Inno was hitting really well. I didn’t want a new hitter come back and do it again. I also thought that if I have to come back (after being injured in retirement) in the next 30-40 minutes, I have to do it again.”
“So all I wanted was to buy some time there, and I thought if I give myself some time, the body warms up and then I take medicine, use the spray and Inshallah we see where I Yeah the first 40 minutes was really tough but Alhamdulillah it worked pretty well at the end,” he added.
The motivation to fight harder – even in the face of an injury like this – came from Raza wanting to avoid adding another loss to his opponents on the night.
“I’m one of those guys who looks at the stats, you know, and I saw those stats yesterday, I read an article that said Bangladesh have, I think, 20 (wins) over us. I watched it and I was like you guys know it would be nice if we won the game.
“I think at the beginning we were too low in energy and we got together and told the guys that was not the right attitude and the coach actually said that in the warm-up as well and it led us to increase those energy levels and the result,” he said.
As the innings broke, Zimbabwe’s dressing room exuded confidence – led by Raza’s words – even as they eyed a 304 chase. batters and I said guys Inshallah we will win this game three overs to spare.
“When I came out all I did was try to achieve small goals and I kept telling Inno that’s what the team wants us to do and that’s what what we have to do for the team. Once the needs of the team are met, you can do what you want, but now we have to do what the team demands, and our first job was to go from 25 at 30, then 35 to 40 (overs) and after that we ran a ball,” he said.
Raza also credited the presence of towering figures like Dave Houghton and Lance Klusener for the positive mental space in the locker room.
“When he speaks it’s very substantial, it’s very heavy and it’s to the point. I think when he speaks he only speaks for a little while but that makes a lot of sense and the team buys that he says and there’s a lot of respect for our coach and there’s a lot of love to give back to the team. The dressing room is in a really good mental space and that’s why these things happen,” said Raza.
“Dave is very clear that it’s not our players in the XI that win us the game, it’s the whole team. So when you replace someone, it’s because you have the same quality as the other and that you believe in yourself.
“I thought Inno was special today. Lance Klusener is very important on one thing and that is to put the team in a position and so Luke Jongwe can come and do what he is in charge of doing (role of So when Inno and I were at bat, we said you know that’s our role and we should fill it so that Burly and Milton and the power hitters can play their parts when they come in. They don’t shouldn’t have to play our roles. Lance,” he said.
Having already beaten Bangladesh in the T20I series, Zimbabwe will now look to seal the ODI rubber as well when the teams meet for the second game on Sunday.